Furious comeback gives Stags conference championship; Athenas finish second

LA MIRADA, Calif. – Fast times, a close race for the men's team conference championship and 15 All-Conference performances on Feb. 21 for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps swimming & diving teams made for an exhilarating close to the four-day SCIAC Championships held at Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center.

The Stags overcame an 18-point deficit on the final day to finish in first (1,086), ahead of Pomona-Pitzer (1,044). Pomona-Pitzer held a lead throughout the first three-plus days of the Championships and did not relinquish its lead until after the 200 breaststroke Sunday, with two events remaining in the meet. It is the ninth-straight SCIAC championship for the Stags under head coach Charlie Griffiths.

In the women's competition, the Athenas (964) had their string of 13-straight conference titles snapped and finished in second place behind Pomona-Pitzer (1,084). CMS finished well ahead of third place Redlands (658.5).

Of the 15 podium finishes for CMS Sunday, eight were by the Stags and seven were by the Athenas. CMS swimmers also took home both Athlete of the Year awards. Junior Stephanie Doi (CMC) received SCIAC Female Athlete of the Year accolades and junior Matthew Williams (CMC) received SCIAC Male Athlete of the Year recognition.

Two meet records were set by the Stags on Sunday in conference championship swims, as sophomore Noah Deer (CMC) swam the 100 free in 44.94. He also swam the anchor leg for the CMS 'A' 400 free relay team that broke the 3-year-old meet record with a time of 3:00.87. Deer teamed up with senior Alex Poltash (CMC), Williams and senior Joseph Hinton (CMC) for the record and the event win which sealed CMS' overall victory in the meet over Pomona-Pitzer.

Other individual conference championships for the Stags were Williams (200 backstroke – 1:47.91), freshman Aaron Lutzker (HMC; 200 breaststroke – 2:03.76) and senior Matthew Valentine (HMC; 200 fly – 1:48.90). Second place finishes went to senior Cory Johnson (HMC; 200 back – 1:52.83) and freshman John Everett (CMC; 200 fly – 1:51.37), while Poltash finished the 100 free in third (45.25).

Conference champions for the Athenas were juniors Kelly Ngo (CMC; 100 free – 51.05), Emily McKinnon (CMC; 200 breaststroke – 2:21.54) and the 400 free relay team of Ngo and Doi along with freshmen Riley Hoffman (CMC) and Emma Stacy (SCR).

Sophomores Lauren Rosenberger (CMC) and Lizzie Carrade (CMC) touched the wall in second (17:24.49) and third (17:31.83), respectively in the 1650 free, the first women's finals swim event of the day. Hoffman (200 back – 2:07.22) and junior Kayla Flaten (CMC; 200 breaststroke – 2:25.31) had third place finishes on the day and in 3-meter women's diving, junior Carli Lessard (HMC) came away in second place (474.20).

NCAA Diving preliminaries are Feb. 26-27 in Grinnell, Iowa and the NCAA Division III Championships are March 16-19 in Greensboro, N.C. for the Athenas and Stags who have qualified and get the invite.

Watch Men's 400 Free Relay swim

Complete Results (Days 1-4)

By Chris Watts
Director of Athletics Communication
Claremont McKenna College

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